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Showing 1-10 of 232 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 489 reviews
on March 7, 2014
I read this book on a recommendation from a friend of mine and am certainly glad to have done so. Though I had never read any of Coelho's works before, with The Alchemist being his most popular title, this was just as good a title to start with. His writing is meaningful yet somewhat simplistic. You grow to understand and love the two main characters who have reunited after about 10 years apart and come to a realization of what draws them together and what they both learn from one another. My main complaint was the style of writing in that it left me yearning for a bit more depth and sophistication. But overall a wonderful, eyeopening read. One that reminds you live fully and not be afraid of love.
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on November 27, 2016
I'm not one that reads religious books regularly and at first I thought that this book was not going to be something I would enjoy but as I am an avid Cohelo reader I kept reading as I too was trying to learn to forgive. I don't think this book opened my eyes to ways to forgive but it definitely portrayed true love and it's abilty to shape a person's destiny. Overall a good read and as usual another thought provoking Cohelo novel to enjoy. I will definitely re-read it to see what lessons I missed the first read.
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on March 11, 2014
This is my first read by Paulo Coelho, and it won't be my last. What an amazing author. That old saying of "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" is exactly how this book felt to me. While the story involves a man who can perform miracles and his decision to give it all up for the woman he loves, it's meaning is much deeper. It is really about falling in love with a higher power which no words can describe, and connects us all. I loved that it also included the feminine side of this power. I don't think I've ever highlighted so many passages. This is a real masterpiece. It's underlying meaning brings a profound message to our world. Highly recommended.
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on July 4, 2015
As with all of Paulo's books, the Alchemist was a tough act to follow, but with that said I thought this was one of his better books. I find it wonderful the way he typically weaves his own life's lessons into a "fictional" story line (Of course only he knows how much is fiction and how much was real). The underlying theme of this book is "Relationship rescue", and I would recommend it to anyone who is experiencing relationship challenges. He places this story in the nightlife scene of present day Paris, and has woven in some very interesting characters from the former Soviet block countries. As always, his story captivated my interests - and once I get into it - it was hard to put down. An interesting coincidence is that I started reading his books (starting with The Pilgrimage) just prior to beginning my 500 mile hike on the El Camino de Santiago in Spain - and this one was the last one I read as I was completing that journey.
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on March 27, 2014
An inspiring read even for those who are not Catholic. I say this because there is a lot of Catholicism in this book, but it is written not necessarily in support or non-support of Catholicism, but more about the feminine side of God, spirituality, the Virgin Mary, higher force, whatever name you want to put to the softer side of spirituality. The real delight of this book is its viewpoint of love- Love is always a good thing. I found myself agreeing with this sentiment the more I read the book. My favorite part was where the main character reasons that if one is going to fall in love, one may as well fall far because if there is going to be pain, it doesn't matter whether one falls from the third floor or the tenth floor, it hurts the same. This book is written as a love story but is an intelligent read, not a sappy romance.
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on May 4, 2012
I am on my 2nd time reading this marvelous book. I have loved Mr. Coelho's books since the first one I read, "The Alchemist" and have several others. They are like old friends, and I go back and re-read them. Some I got from the library, some I have purchased, and now I am getting some old friends and some new for my tablet. Coelho's books aren't really novels in the traditional sense, at least to me. He is a marvelous "storyteller" and, as with any good story teller, he leads you into, through and around the twists and turns of the story, spilling out pearls of wisdom or giving a situation a different perspective; hence my comment about "thought provoking." Too, his stories contain moral dilemmas presented to the reader, with the reader being allowed to determine or wonder what he/she might do if faced with the same or a similar dilemma. I would highly recommend this book, particularly to anyone who is in a relationship (or ever been or wants to be) with someone who has a strong, but perhaps not obvious, spiritual bent. It does let us draw our own conclusion as to whether what sends the seeker in this story on a quest for one dear to him and the change in his perception as he rises, and sometimes slips, in attempting to fulfill his truth. And now that I've discovered his daily blog, my day isn't complete without reading it - not too long but just the lift I need for my spirits. I've not done justice to the book and others have described it better, but I couldn't go by without rating it and recommending it. Serious stuff, but not heavy! Some have said rather autobiographical; if so, I say great, he's just telling it like it is. I see no arrogance at all; conversely a successful man with humility enough to know there's more to life and love than "success."
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on April 7, 2017
I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was an interesting read that has become one of my favorites. At the beginning of the story, we meet Pilar who is frustrated about her life path who reunites with a high school sweetheart. This high school sweetheart has become a spiritual leader who sets off on a journey with Pilar. It is a book centering on forgiveness and love, eloquently written by Paulo Coelho.
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on August 14, 2012
Two childhood friends go on a journey together from Spain to the surrounding communities of the Pyrenees mountains. On their journey Pilar and her friend discuss the meaning of love, forgiveness and how to lead an adventurous life by taking risks to fulfill a dream. There is also the Pere who seems to become a mediator or advocate, a friend, between the man and woman. First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, BY THE RIVER PIEDRA I SAT DOWN AND WEPT by PAULHO COELHO. I've had good conversation whether confrontational or peaceable while reading through the pages. Whatever the tone of the moment ideas flowed like good wine pass the three people to me. The transition to another world of spirituality and beauty made me see that moments in my life can be full of meaning.

I began the novelthinking one way, then, all of a sudden there was a switch in my mind. At first the male companion seemed to be the one capable and willing to teach Pilar the way to a spiritual life. I thought Pilar seemed more romantic. You know woman want romance. Man wants to pontificate about his great deeds. It is only after her male companion comes back from a time of solitude in the mountains do I see he is the one who will be changed by the woman's thoughts about forgiveness and what dream to follow in life. Oddly, when he comes from the mountaintop and meets the woman he grabs her and gives her a deep and intimate kiss. The kiss seems to say 'I want your body.' He is now willing to give up his life of spiritual growth in order to build a home with a white picket fence and do all that he thinks this woman, most women want for their lives. Here is the twisted dance. Pilar doesn't want any of the above. She wants to talk about spirituality.She wants to give her life away in service to other people. This is the walk, the journey she wants to share with her companion. I suppose both are striving to sacrifice themselves for one another in different ways.

In order that Pilar's strong spirituality is not overlooked. Paulo Coelho mentions Saint Teresa of Avila along with Bernadette of Lourdes and Of course, the Virgin Mother who understands our suffering because she experiences the death of Her Son. Broadening his points the author includes Psalm 137. I still have parts of the Psalm rushing through my head like fresh water. I will feel neglectful not to add the Psalm to the end of my book review. Most of the journey is through the French countryside. I feel the flavor of their journey will seem more lasting and real if I leave the Psalm here in the French language. Of course I can only read it in the English.

illuminatedleaves

Psalm 137
English Standard Version (ESV)
How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song?
137 By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows[a] there
we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
4 How shall we sing the Lord's song
in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!
7 Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, "Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!"
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!biblegateway
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on May 26, 2017
Experience is his teacher...a slow way to explore what life is for. Nevertheless, it was a good read to explore point of view.
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on March 19, 2017
My sister read this book and said it was a wonderful so I purchased this for my son as he has read about six books by this author and enjoyed every one. He has not finished reading The Zahir yet.
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